FIVE-DAY REMAND ORDER AGAINST PHEE
Court also grants remand for factory manager, director
THE magistrate’s court here yesterday granted a five-day remand order against state Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh to facilitate investigations into an illegal carbon filter factory in Sungai Lembu, Bukit Mertajam.
The remand order, which will end on Wednesday, was issued by senior deputy registrar Ameera Mastura Khamis.
The remand order was to facilitate the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigations under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 for abuse of power for gratification.
Ameera granted the factory’s 70-year-old manager and his 37year-old son, who is the factory’s director, the same five-day remand order.
Dev Kumaraendran appeared for both father and son.
Speaking outside the courtroom, Phee’s lawyers, Ramkarpal Singh and R.S.N. Rayer, said they took issue with the court’s order, describing it as “highly irregular.”
Ramkarpal said they would file a revision with the High Court, under the necessary provisions under the Criminal Procedure Code, to correct the court’s order.
He said prior to the proceedings, they had raised a preliminary issue on whether MACC’s refusal to allow them to communicate with their clients was lawful.
He said they had only submitted yesterday morning on the issue, and it was considered by MACC deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Ghazali Muhamad Nadzri, who submitted otherwise.
“So, this morning’s issue ventilated on whether or not we should be given the right to consult with our clients and take instructions from them. It was made very clear that the merits of the actual remand — the period of remand — hasn’t been touched on yet. The MACC deputy public prosecutor had asked for seven days.
“We had asked for this legal representation issue to be decided first as a preliminary issue before we go into its merits. After which, the learned senior deputy registrar adjourned the matter for 20 minutes to decide on the issue... that was what she told us.
“So, we were shocked when she came back after 20 minutes and had decided on the entire application, including the merits, and had given five days without hearing us. The point is this: our submission this morning was only centred on the issue of legal representation and we did not touch on the remand.
“We made it clear that this submission is made without prejudice to our right to submit on the merits later. So, in other words, she had decided on the merits without hearing us, which we take issue with. We are of the view that this order, therefore, is irregular and needs to be revised by the High Court judge.”
Ramkarpal said there was provision in the Criminal Procedure Code where they could propose for the order to be revised.
“We asked the learned senior deputy registrar to help us file the necessary revision with the High Court judge because today (yesterday) is Saturday.
“She refused. She maintained her order for remand for five days despite our objections and concerns that the order was highly irregular.
“So, we are going to draft the necessary letter for revision under the necessary provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.”
On Thursday, MACC and several government agencies raided the illegal carbon filter factory in Sungai Lembu.
Other than the factory, its office and the Seberang Prai Municipal Council’s Licensing Department office, both in Banda Perda, Bukit Mertajam, were also raided.
Earlier, Phee, along with the father and son, arrived at the courthouse here at 10.10am in three vehicles.
All came in orange MACC lockup T-shirt and were handcuffed. Phee was the first to be led in followed by the son and father.
Phee, a senior DAP assemblyman in the state, was arrested on Friday while having his statement recorded by MACC officers at the state MACC office here.
Earlier the same morning, five MACC officers raided Phee’s office at Komtar. They left an hour later with a bag of documents. Sources said the documents were linked to the operations of the illegal factory.
MACC officers also went to Phee’s house in Butterworth. The father and son were detained later in the evening at the state MACC office here.
Present to lend support to Phee yesterday was Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, along with other state DAP and PKR leaders and their supporters.
Phee Boon Poh (centre) being led to the magistrate’s court in George Town yesterday.